Yesterday Dave got a rude e-mail in response to a polite request he made of a “professional” associate. Dave asked this person, let’s call him “Rudy”, to return some confidential documents belonging to one of his clients. Rudy responded with outrage. Why wasn’t it good enough that Rudy promised to shred the documents? Why should Rudy have to spend the money (a dollar or two) to mail the originals back to Dave? And why was this request Rudy’s problem?
What Rudy didn’t know is that Dave’s client had been through a personal tragedy and the confidentiality of those documents was of great importance to them. He also didn’t know that Dave himself had been battling a slew of personal problems: a leaky roof, brand new hardwood floors that are buckling due to all the recent rain, a wife (me) who fractured her newly-healed foot and can barely walk, not to mention an insanely heavy workload at the office. No, all Rudy could think about was the few minutes and couple dollars it would cost him to put the documents in the mail.
We all encounter people like Rudy…and more likely than not, we’ve all been Rudy at some point. This experience showed me how far-reaching and toxic rudeness and selfishness can be. It reminded me that we’ve each been dealt our own set of challenges in life and that simply treating each other with compassion and goodwill can even make this often brutal world a better, kinder place. No matter what the cost.
Have you ever encountered a Rudy?